Recently I was given an opportunity to attend a private session of the MEC (Microsoft Experience Center). During this trip several of my favorite SharePoint community members and I were able to see firsthand some of the new ways that MS is trying to communicate value to the business. The event started in the NYC MS office and was laid out so that each participant had a fully configured PC and an assigned role. Some of the roles included the CEO and the HR director. Once we were all set up and ready to go, Jennifer Kim and Justin Chandoo walked us through the demos. In each demo we were able to interact with and put the tools to the test using real business solutions and scenarios. Through each demo we were also able to ask questions and hear insight from other participants. The event was wonderful and I walked away have a new appreciation for some of the “simple” things inside of Office that can make my life so much easier. I highly recommend that you keep your eyes open for an opportunity you have to experience the MEC! It was a great way to pull different users together and give them real world (non-fluff) examples of how they can use technology to work together easily. Below is just a small list of some of the key things that were highlights for me from the event:
Learning together through community! I love being able to learn from others who are using the same technologies as I am. If you don’t have this type of community then you are really missing out! If you need help connecting to a local SharePoint community, let me know and I am sure I can help you find one, you will thank me later I promise J (Here is a list of the people who attended the event with me, if you don’t follow their blogs, you should! – Dux Raymond Sy , Jeff Willinger, Laura Rogers, Melissa Webster, Geoff Varosky & Marc Anderson)
You can always learn something new! One of the best highlights of the day was learning some of the little things inside of Outlook that make my life so much easier. I had always known about the conversation view and had messed with a few times, but had never really seen it used in a way that made me want to use it all the time. When Jennifer Kim showed us some of the ways we could use it to manage conversations better I became a big fan of it. Since then I have used it almost non-stop. It is just a simple reminder that the products we work with are so very big that there is always something new to learn!
- Just get started! Some of the different interactions we had in the group confirmed my attitude that there is always a place to get stared. As an organization you may not be able to jump in and take full advantage of all of the many rich features, but can you start by just using some of them and build a plan to grow over time. I think that is part of the beauty of SharePoint as a solution. You can get started immediately and take advantage of what you can while you work towards a future goal.
This was definitely a great opportunity and I am thankful that I was able to be a part of it. Below is a link to a video that Microsoft created to highlight my experience.
Disclaimer: Microsoft brought me to NYC, gave me a copy Microsoft Office 2010 and this video.
After the event we were invited to a dinner reception where we got to interact with and ask questions from many of the Microsoft representatives that coordinated the event. It was a great opportunity to hear feedback from them on some of the different things available and coming up that will really help impact how the business uses SharePoint. I am really looking forward to keeping in touch with this team and then sharing some of the great things I learn with all of you. As a next step, I will be attending the Lync Launch event next week and I will be planning to share a summary of what I learn the following week on my blog. I am very excited to see some of the new technology and I am confident that it will really bring some great value to many different types of organizations.
This was also my first trip to NYC and I had a blast- Jeff and Geoff were wonderful tour guides! Here are just a few pictures that highlight the trip-